Supporting STEM: providing intervention strategies for borderline ITE students in STEM subjects to increase their success

Grant type: Developing Pedagogy and Practice 2010/11
Round: Pedagogy and Practice Jan 2011
Amount awarded £5,000.00
Completed: December 2011
Leader(s): Mrs Ruth Edwards
Organisation: University of Southampton
Contact Email: ruth.edwards@soton.ac.uk
Contact phone: 02380597470
Start Date: 1 March 2011
End Date: 31 December 2011
Interim report received: 13 September 2011
Final report received: 20 December 2011

Does online social networking have an impact on student outcomes?

Online social networking may help support the success of initial teacher education (ITE) trainees researchers from the University of Southampton have found.  Ruth Edwards and Rosalyn Hyde, ITE tutors from the Southampton Education School, have been working on an Escalate funded project which looks at the reasons behind students withdrawing from teacher training courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.  Two of the factors they identified, isolation in school and difficulty in locating teaching resources may be lessened through social networking.  Following interviews and focus groups with a sample of mathematics and science trainees last year the pair set up a series of interventions for the current cohort of mathematics students.  Creating a Facebook page was just one of these, giving their trainees easier access to interact with each other when on school placement.  Initial findings from the project indicate that interaction through the site has helped reduce feelings of isolation and encouraged the trainee teachers to establish their own resource sharing facility using an online dropbox.  The researchers admit that there is still much to do on this project and intend to continue studying the groups’ usage of the Facebook group and its effectiveness throughout their ITE training year and into their first year of teaching.